Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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Conflict displaced children getting training at the Sarita Regional Boxing Academy

Kuki, Meitei Intellectuals ‘Helping’ Centre Calm Anger, Breakthrough Delayed by ‘Fear’ Among Local Stakeholders

NEW DELHI: Notwithstanding a large-scale criticism, efforts by the Govt of India to bring peace and calmness in strife-torn Manipur will continue, informed sources disclosed.

Intellectuals from both communities are also extending the much needed cooperation, it is said.

The situation in Manipur figured prominently during the maiden parliament session.

“Some elements are adding fuel to the fire and such elements will be rejected by the people of Manipur,” PM Narendra Modi said while replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

In Lok Sabha there was anti-government sloganeering by Congress and other opposition members on Tuesday.

“At such an hour of problems, the Government of India is getting cooperation from both the communities … and as such intellectuals from Kukis as well
as Meiteis are also doing their part,” a source told ‘Nagaland Page’ on the condition of anonymity.

The Govt of India cites the example of “mass burial of mortal remains” in December 2023 and hastened to add, “Due to such efforts we were encouraged….

Work is still on. We also tried umpteen number of times in the past one year to bring both communities at any level on the same table and on one occasion managed to have a joint meeting of Ministers/MLAs from both sides at a neutral venue”.

The source further said the government channels “were in touch with intellectuals” from both communities.

Of course, officials and other stakeholders who matter for peace and tranquility say, “New Delhi might not have succeeded to have a breakthrough due to strong fear in the minds of stakeholders in Manipur regarding violence by their own people targeting them”.

He further stated: “In fact, on many occasions this also happened further compounding their fears.

Therefore it is unfair to comment that we looked at the conflict only as a law and order problem and did not explore political options”.

“We had extensive back channel contacts with Armed groups, Civil society organisatons and MLAs from both warring communities even Nagas and Pangals separately.  We also tried umpteen number of times in the past one year to bring both communities at any level”.

The back channel — or informal meetings etc – also helped in achieving the small but crucial milestones like opening of blockades on highways,”  the source said.

The centre has come under attack for allegedly trying to handle the situation as a law and order problem. However, the centre has dispelled such contention.

The Manipur situation of course has certain deeper problems with multiple players, some of them based overseas and involved in a sinister high-stakes game.

The sectarian conflict in 2023 has killed over 220 and displaced more than 50,000 people, the majority of them Christians. Nearly 350 places of worship, including churches, have been damaged.

Issues such as FCRA norms were cited in the past as factors responsible for funds crunch for various charitable organisations in Manipur and other places in the north east.

The Government source, however, denies such allegations and maintains that the new FCRA norms have instead cleaned the system and organisations with dubious functioning styles are getting folded up. “This is because unlike a decade back they are unable to generate unsolicited funds.

In fact, leaders of indigenous people’s groups and rights activists met in Dimapur on Feb 16, 2024, and condemned the decision to do away with “free movement” across the Myanmar border.

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